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National March for Life - Ottawa, 2011

This past Thursday, May 12, 2011, I led a small group of faithful pro-lifers to Ottawa to participate in the National March for Life. It was a full day and add some, for we only got back at around 2 AM Friday morning. 24 plus hours later,  I can now say that I feel recovered from the exercise. Despite the soreness from the long hours of standing, I am glad to have gone and look forward to participating again next year.

The day began with an early departure for we wanted to arrive in Ottawa for the 10 AM mass at the Notre Dame Cathedral. This meant leaving Central Station at about 7:30 AM and rendez-vous'ing with a second group awaiting us in the west-island, at Fairview Shopping Centre. We weren't disappointed by the early departure for we arrived at the cathedral some ten minutes before mass time. Further, several of us - Donald Kondusky, Johan Distler, and myself, were fortunate to have reserved seats waiting for us; the Knights of Columbus had several cancellations and one invited three of us to join their ranks. Lucky break!

The mass was presided over my Archbishop Pendergast of Ottawa along with several of his bishop brothers.  Once over, we proceeded to Parliament Hill for the opening ceremony. On the way, Charlotte L'Heureux, Jack Coyne, Marcel Givogue, and myself, took a short cut through Major Hill park and while there paused to eye the tulips and eat our lunch. Charlotte and I tested the delicacies at one of the finer greasy spoons.  I wolfed down the fries and chicken pita.

Finally we arrived on the hill as the speeches were being made.  I don't know if it was because of the beautiful sunshine and the cool breeze, but the turnout was large. Later that day I heard that the crowd was estimated at 15 000 people, that is 3000 more than last year.

This year's theme was "Abortion Kills a Human Being." Our own Georges Buscemi, Quebec Life Coalition president, was interviewed by the French side of the CBC; his interview made be found at: http://www.radio-canada.ca/nouvelles/societe/2011/05/12/001-manifestation-avortement-ottawa.shtml.

Eventually, when all was said, we proceeded to walk through the streets of Ottawa, led by many banners and the Knights in full regalia. The walk proceeded up Wellington to Elgin, passing along its way both the cenatath and the human rights monument.  At this point our path crossed a large group of protesters and what appeared to be a jostling exercice began; the youth in both camps attempted to outshout the other with their various slogans.  Call be bias but I think our own won out.  We snaked through the streets to Bank street and back to Wellington and the hill. Our own Irene Camilli appears here. The afternoon on the hill ended with several members of "Silent No More Awareness Campaign" giving personal testimonies of how abortion had affected their lives and an orthodox prayer service.

Here are some pictures of the day : 

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Coerced Abortions & The Elliot Institute

As the 40 Days for Life Prayer vigil was approaching its end, we received an urgent request. One of the vigilers asked for prayers for a young woman who was being pressured to abort. Seemingly, this young woman's parents and boy-friend were insisting that she end the life of her unborn child. Deeply troubled, she confided to a work mate.

Being on the mailing list of the Elliot Institude, I eerily experienced first-hand what I had frequently read from this post-abortion service. Its web site is aptly identified: http://afterabortion.org

The Elliot Institute actively documents cases of forced abortions. Since 1988, it has compiled an impressive bibliography of original research. Further, it has used these studies to educate and advocate for women, men, children and families hurt by abortion. For example, a sample of its peer-reviewed research includes articles, leaflets, and books such as:

  • Abortion Linked to Preterm Birth, But Why Aren't Women Being Told?
  • More Than 30 Studies in Last Five Years show Negative Impact of Abortion on Women's Mental Health (11/16/10)
  • Researchers Say Study Claiming Abortion Not Linked to Teen Depression is Falwed (10/11/11)

These and other of their researching findings make their way into their education work via flyers and fact-sheets.  One flyer set for mother's day reads:

 

whereas a fact-sheet includes the following statistics:

  • 64% of abortions involve coercion
  • 84% were not fully informed
  • 52% felt rushed and 54% uncertain beforehand, yet ...
  • 67% received no counseling,
  • 79% were not informed about alternatives.

The Elliot Institute also notes that too often coercion can escalate to violence.  A recent posting of theirs bears this out - "Ohio Man Pleads guilty to Attempting to Force Girlfriend into Abortion Clinic at Gunpoint."  Recent incidents in Newfoundland and in western Canada have shown such that such violence also occurs here in Canada.

 Their advocacy has included participation in the ad hoc Committee of Women Pregnant Through Sexual Assault and in the drafting of laws targeting women coerced, forced, or pressured into abortion by those around them.

In sum, the Elliot Institute is a valuable on-line resource for all persons involved in the pro-life cause. 

Returning to the young lady to whom I alluded to earlier, I commend her to your prayers.  Though I'm told she has fortunately not gone through with an abortion, yet, as the Elliot Institute has shown, the mother's womb is not safe place for the unborn at any time during its time there.

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Quebec Life Coalition presents "Coins for Life"

The Quebec-Life Coalition is proud to present its "Coins for Life" campaign. Available to both individuals and church communities, this handsome presentation not only attempts to raise much needed funding for our various projects but also spread the pro-life message. 

Our primary target is faith based communities. By promoting "Coins for Life", Churches assert their support for the long standing Christian tradition of coming to the aid of the weaker members of our society. Boxes may be distributed after the service and then brought home.

Once in the home, individuals can periodically insert their loose change. When filled, these handsomely decorated laminated boxes, covered with pictures and information pertinent to the unborn, are returned to the church. There, a representative from the Quebec Life Coalition will come by to pick them up.

In additon to its use as a fund raising tool, the "Coins for Life" box has a two-fold educational component. First, discretly placed within the home, or at the office, its colored images of the unborn at varying stages of its development are eye catchers, stirring wonder in the beholder. This will draw the viewer to examine it more closely and present him or her with the second, though starker, educational aspect: the most recent abortion statistics in Quebec.

Finally, the "Coins for Life" campaign is an ideal way to foster a Culture of Life in Quebec. A side panel of the box specifies the mandate of the Quebec Life Coalition and the bottom facet encourages the recipients to place their names and addresses thereon so as to participate with us in this all important campaign of fostering life. Subsequently, we will mail them our monthly newsletter so that they remain informed of not only our projects but also of the latest news in the pro-life movement, within and outside Quebec.

Each image shown below represents one of the facets of the box.  Simply click on one of the images in order to enlarge it; though the French version of the box is shown below, English boxes are now available.

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Further information about this campaign or to get your own "Coins for Life" box, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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Precious Feet

An important educational tool I have come across for the Pro-Life cause bears the simple title "Precious Feet".  For those of you unfamiliar with it, it consists of label pin in the shape and size of a 10-week old unborn child. Unlike the fetal model I walk around with in my pocket, the "Precious Feet" pin remains in plain view wherever I go for all to see.

Further, the pin comes with an explanatory guide, well referenced, documenting keys moments in fetal development from conception through to delivery.  I reproduce below a good portion of this leaflet, including the history of the two people responsible most for their its coming to be - Dr. Russell Sacco and Mrs. Virginia Evers

The "Precious Feet" label pin may be purchased from its distributor Heritage House - www.hh76.info/default.asp.

 

Precious Feet*

The Exact Size and Shape of a 10-Week Unborn Baby's Feet

At no time in your life does more growth and change occur than in the first nine months before birth. Here are the amazing milestones of that time in your life:

1st Day: Conception: Of the 200,000,000 sperm that try to penetrate the mother's egg cell, only one succeeds.1  At that very moment, a new and unique individual is formed. All of the inherited features of this new person are already set - whether it's a boy or girl, the color of the eyes, the color of the hair, the dimples of the cheeks and the cleft of the chin. (Size of baby = .005 in.)

18-20 Days: The foundations of the brain, spinal cord, and nervous system are laid.2a (Size of baby = .008 in.)

21 Days: The heart begins to beat, unsurely at first, gaining strength day by day. The heart beats 70 times per minute at first, reaching a maximum of 170-190 at seven weeks, and slowing a bit to 160-180 at 9 weeks.4a (Size when the heart first beats is 0.03 in.) A day later the eyes begin to develop. The earliest stages of the ears are now present.2b

28-32 days: Two tiny arms make their appearance and budding legs follow two days later.3a The beginnings of the mouth take shape.4b The nose starts to develop.3b Blood flows in the baby's veins but stays separate from the mother's blood. The tongue now begins to form. The face now makes its first appearance.4c

42 Days: The brain is now divided into 3 parts - one to experience emotion and understand language, one for hearing and one for seeing.5a Joints begin to form.3c Mother now misses her second period.

44 Days: Facial muscles develop.4d Eyelids begin to form, protecting the developing eyes.3d Elbows take shape. Internal organs are present, but immature. 99% of muscles are present; each with its own nerve supply.5b Electrical activity is detectable in the brain.4e

7 Weeks: Spontaneous movement begins. The baby begins to develop a whole collection of moves over 4 weeks including hiccupping, frowning, squinting, furrowing the brow, pursing the lips, moving individual arms and legs, head tuming, touching the face, breathing (without air), stretching, opening the mouth, yawning, and sucking.2c

8 Weeks: The baby is now well-proportioned, about the size of a thumb. Every organ is present. The liver is making blood, the kidneys function, and the heart beats steadily. The skull, elbows, and knees are forming. Of the 4500 structures in the adult body, 4000 are already present.5c The skeleton of the arms and legs and the spine begins to stiffen as bone cells are added.3e

10 Weeks: The number of connections between nerves and muscles has tripled since last week.5d

12 Weeks: The baby swallows and responds to skin stimulation.6

4 Months: The child can grasp with hands, make a fist, swim, and turn somersaults.7 7 months: Eyelids open and close, eyes look around.2d Hands grip strongly. Mother's voice can be heard and recognized. 9 months: The child triggers labor and birth occurs, an average of 264-270 days after conception.2e Not until the baby has gone through all these events on the inside do we see the new child on the outside...

Around 1970, physician Dr. Russell Sacco became aware of the highly developed human characteristics of the pre-born infants. His striking photo of the perfectly formed feet of a 10-week born child was published world-wide. In 1974, it inspired Mrs. Virginia Evers to create the "Precious Feet" lapel pin, identical in size and shape to an unborn baby's feet at just 10 weeks after conception. They are used by literary millions of people world-wide to demonstrate the humanity of the unborn.

 

*. "Precious Feet" ©1979 Heritage House '76, Inc.  www.hh76.com, 1-800-858-3040.

1. "Life Before Birth," Life Magazine, Apr. 30, 1965, p. 13.

2. Carlson, B., Human Embryology & Developmental Biology. Toronto: Mosby Publication, 3rd edition, 2004, a: p. 97, b: 292, 308, c: 483, 484, d: 305, e: 88-92.

3. Moore, K. and Persaud, T., The Developing Human, Clinically Oriented Embryology, 6th Edition, Philadelphia: W.B. Sanders, 1998, a: 435-437, b: 236-243, c: 408-411, d: 502, e: 409-414.

4. O'Rahilly, R. and Muller, F., Human Embryology and Teratology, 3rd Edition, New York: John Wiley and Sons, Inc., 2001, a: p. 183, b: 235-236, c: 346-348, 183, 236, 107, d: 238, e: 428.

5. Tsiaras, A. and Werth, B., From Conception to Birth, a Life Unfolds, New York: Doubleday, 2002, a: p. 102, 114, 118, b: 140, c: 178, 183, 185, d: 206.

6. Valman, H. and Pearson, J., "What the foetus feels", British Medical Journal, January 26, 1980.

7. (pending)

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Quebec Life Coalition Conference -- May 15, 2011

The Quebec Life Coalition is pleased to announce its annual congress in Quebec City (at the Château Laurier) on Sunday, May 15, The International Day of the Family.

This year's theme is "Defending and Promoting the Family as The Sanctuary of Life:  A Paramount Issue for Quebec". The goal is to affirm the family as the source of life, the focus of a civil society, and the giver of freedom.  These contrast, respectively, with current societal trends of increased abortions and contraception, radical individualism, and greater governmental involvement.

In addition to the afternoon conferences, the congress includes an evening banquet to benefit the Marche chrétienne - The Christian March, also set for Quebec City, in early June - i.e., Saturday, June 4, 2011.

This year's congress format contains two simultaneous workshops with the first beginning at 1:15 PM (ending at 2:15 PM) and the second running from 2:45 PM to 3:45 PM.  The afternoon ends with a third workshop (from 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM.

 

 

 

Cost :

Conferences and Benefit Dinner: 60$

Conferences only : 25$ -- 15$ for students 25 and under

Benefit Dinner only : 50$

A babysitting service will be provided from 1pm until 9:30pm

Tickets may be purchased either by phone - (514) 344-2686

or by ordered by email- cqv@qc.aira.com

Facebook page for the event >>

 
Confirmed Speakers (others are pending):


John-Henry Westen

Editor-in-Chief of LifeSiteNews, a non-profit internet service dedicated to issues of culture, life and family, John-Henry is recognized as an eminent figure of the pro-life movement, whose website is relied upon by numerous organizations and publications, educators, professionals and political, religious and life and family organization leaders and grassroots people from across North America and internationally.

Here in Quebec, his organization, along with the Quebec Life Coalition, is currently being sued by Father Raymond Gravel for defamation, for among other reasons having allegedly brought an end to his political career.  LifeSiteNews has also revealed potentially embarassing information concerning Development and Peace; according to LifeSite, the latter has financed and continues to finance abortion providers in developing nations.

 

Richard Décarie 

Richard Décarie has worked in the social movements for over twenty years, in both public and non-profit sectors.  His latest involvement concerns the restructuring of the food bank network in Quebec.  Five years ago, he co-founded the political action movement Action Conservatrice Traditionnelle (ACT).

 

 

 

 

 

Brigitte Bédard

Brigitte Bedard, married and mother mother of six, is an independent journalist and has until recently contributed regularly to the periodical Nouvel informateur catholique.  Her conversion to the Catholic faith in 2000 contrasts starkly with her hitherto feminist and atheistic stance.

More on Brigitte's conversion story >>

 

 

 

 

Solange Lefebvre-Pageau

Ms. Solange-Pageau is a mother and grand-mother, and directs the Center for Research and Education in Family Life (C.R.É.V.F.) In both Quebec and the African continent, she gives conferences, chairs workshops, and writes on topics of love, sexuality and the family.

 

 

 

 




Gilles Noël

Gilles Noël, a physics teacher in a Montreal CEGEP as well as other ones around the province, has in 2000 founded the faith based political party Parti démocratie chrétienne du Québec (PDCQ) which brings together numerous Christian interests.

 

 

 

 


Georges Buscemi

Georges Buscemi, President of the Quebec Life Coalition, is at the forefront of the pro-Life movement in Quebec for the past three years.  He has coordinated several 40 Days for Life prayer vigils, hosted international speakers, and participated in pan-canadian pro-life activities.

 

 

 

 

 

Anne-Marie Genest 

Anne-Marie Genest, 27, a native of Drummondville, is a student of intercultural anthropology and theology. Her interests touch upon the transmission of values, particularly religious and familial.

Her interests has spurred her on to become a candidate for the Christian Heritage Party.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Réal Gaudreault 

Mr. Gaudreault, married and father of two boys, is an evangelical pastor for the past twenty years.  He promotes conservative Christian values in both social and political settings.  Along with Mr. Decarie, he co-founded the ACT (Action conservatrice traditionnelle).

 

 

 

Schedule (subject to change) 


Afternoon Conferences (note: only one conference per series will be simultaneously translated into English)


First series (13h15 - 14h15) -- select one

Solange Lefebvre-Pageau (Salle Abraham-Martin): "Le lien entre la contraception et l'avortement : une question de mentalité". 

Gilles Noël avec Georges Buscemi (Salle Colline): "De l'avortement tardif au Québec à l'euthanasie précoce aux Pays-Bas : les fruits de 40 ans de politique anti-famille" (Fron Late-term abortion in Quebec to Early euthanasia in the Netherlands: the bitter fruit of 40 years of anti-family policies in the West.)--Simultaneous translation in English

Brigitte Bédard (Salle du Manège): "Vers un féminisme pro-famille : la mère et son enfant v. l'État et son client". 


Second series (14h45 - 15h45) -- select one

À confirmer (Salle Abraham-Martin)

Gilles Noël (Salle Colline): "Après l'effondrement de la famille, l'effondrement de la liberté : la DPJ au Québec".

Richard Décarie (Salle du Manège): "Si la famille est protégée, la liberté est assurée".--Simultaneous translation in English 


Special Workshop -- (16h00 - 17h00)

Spotlight on Development and Peace

John-Henry Westen and Georges Buscemi (Salle Abraham-Martin):  – Development & Peace is Supporting Agencies Promoting Abortion in Developing Nations : Evidence and Proposed Remedies. (In English and French with simultaneous translation)


Plenary Session -- Comment proposer et défendre la famille « sanctuaire » comme cellule de toute société viable (Proposing and Defending the Family Unit as Central to a Viable Society) (17h00 - 17h45)

Richard Décarie, Brigitte Bédard, Solange Lefebvre-Pageau, Gilles Noël

Moderator : Georges Buscemi

(French with simultaneous translation)


Benefit Banquet in support of the "Christian March" (Salle Abraham Martin)

 

19h00 -- Réal Gaudreault : A Christian March -- To get Quebec Christians to Walk the Walk ! (In French with simultaneous translation into English)

 

19h30 -- Anne-Marie Genest : A Christian in Politics -- Accomplishing one's Duty, For the Glory of God (In French with simultaneous translation into English)

20h00 -- John-Henry Westen : How a News Website Can Equip Christians to Teach the Full Gospel both Inside and Outside the Church:  The Case of Father Gravel and other Anecdotes (in Englsih with simultaneous translation)

21h00 -- End 

We would be extremely grateful if you forwarded the news about this conference to all your pro-life contacts.

Facebook page for the event >>

To purchase tickets, or for more information, don't hesitate to contact Quebec Life Coalition at (514) 344-2686 or qlc@qc.aira.com. 

Hope to see you in Quebec City on May 15 !

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40 Days Log Day 24 – Ministering to Ourselves

Another blessed day at the 40 Days for Life vigil location.

Spring is definitely with us. Beautiful sun.  Warming temps.  Snow almost all gone.  With such conditions, the streets were chucked with people – motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians, dog walkers and minglers in the park, … So it was a powerful day to get our message of Choosing Life out there.

Vigilers were also out in large numbers. First, there was a gentleman and his family – wife, daughter, son and daughter-in-law and their daughter, who had traveled from St. Hyacinthe to be with us. Next, there were ten or so teens from a traditional community, chanting hymns or giving silent witness. Finally a charismatic prayer group of six or seven adults spent a hour also hymning and praying. So, passers-by got quite a dose of pro-life witnessing.

Yet what impacted me the most on this Saturday was the witnessing done to ourselves. An incident occurred around mid-afternoon between two men in our group. As I watched what transpired and refrained from intervening in the dealings of these two mature men, I could tell it was not cordial. After the storm settled and feelings still raw, they separated and ministered in separate areas of the site – one along Saint Laurent and the near the banner on Saint Joseph.

At this moment grace intervened. The brouhaha was witnessed by another member of our entourage, a person known for her outspokenness, faith, and audacity to both pro-lifers and Free Choicers. Proceeding discretely and separately she approached both men. I'm ignorant of what she had said to either, but not to its effects. One hour or so after the initial incident, I saw both men seated at the picnic table, that has become a small haven for us vigilers, in what appeared to be friendly banter.

The apostle Paul reminds us in chapter 6 of his epistle to Ephesians that the battle between light and darkness rages within each and every one of us:

10 Finally, brethren, be strengthened in the Lord and in the might of his power. 11 Put you on the armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the deceits of the devil.12For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places.

May we all be open to the incidious trappings of the evil one working in our own lives and combat him with the armour of God.

p.s.  I wish to solicit your prayers for our young “companions” who have been with us for nearly two weeks now. They are planning two events: a picnic today and a “send off” on the last day of our vigil – April 17. Lord, may our presence on behalf of the Gospel of Life awaken within them a conversion of hearts so that they see you as the True God, the True Lord of Life, and not remain blinded to the trappings of the evil one.

p.p.s.  I'm pondering continuing the vigil after the Forty days are up. Interested persons are welcomed to contact me to discuss more about this – days, length of time, manner. ...

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40 Days Log Day 17- Active Day at the Site

     It sure has been a busy day at the site, with numerous people showing up. Jerome Fernandez and Charlotte L'heureux were both there early and together we got the banner up in record time, Jerry providing engineering insights and Charlotte some elbow grease and spiritual support.

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Also, have a good look at the sign to the left.  (By clicking on it, it will be magnified.)  You may not see it around much longer.  Thanks to a generous benefactor, we have received a new banner and it should be ready within a few days for displaying.

 

IMG_1832.JPGIMG_1831.JPGCharlotte and I provided the early morning coverage.  It was a spetacularly beautiful day.  Bright sunshine off-setted the cool temps.  Needless to say; we spent much prayer time basking in the sunshine.

 

 

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Around mid-day, we were delighted to have a group of five prayers arrive. These travelled all the way from Pincourt!  After reciting a rosary, they left promising to return in early April.

 

Another group of visitors were young people. Numbering between five and twelve today, they have been with us since Monday of this week, with as many as twenty present at times. Yet, this groups is different than the previous one. They are countering our presence in front of the Morgentaler facility.  With their own signs and waving to supportive motorists, they are advocating the culture of death mis-information.

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Yet, I consider it quite a blessing to have these young people there.  On the one hand, they elicit much favorable reaction from the motorists;  this shows me how much education needs to be done regarding justice to the unborn and the harm that abortion does to women and to others within our society.

It is also a blessing to witness to them about the love of Christ. In the last of the triptich, three of our prayers - Charlotte, Marta, and Emilia, are seen praying in front of them.  Further, because of either our peaceful co-existence with them or our more audacious souls such Charlotte and Phillipa who engage them in the occasional dialogue, we get to share the values that Christ encouraged us all to live by. 

Finally, as 3 p,m, rolled around and I left the site, three other prayer warriors showed up - Egon, Gregory, and a member from a local religious community.

Thank you all for your support. Working together we are saving the lives of our children and honouring women.

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Log Day 12 - 40 Days for Life

Sunday afternoon at the 40 Days for Life vigil site appeared propitious for prayer. It was a sunny afternoon, a picnic bench provided a spot to sit and meditate, and I was alone.   So, I turned to the daily Scriptural reading, the Transfiguration of Our Lord.   In no time, I was pulled out of my reverie not once but twice.  "You want to make God laugh, tell him your plans."

First, a diminutive young woman walked up to me, handed me a note, and left as quickly as she had arrived. My brief salutation - i.e., Bonjour, was returned in kind but no more was said for she had vanished. On the note carefully hand-written was the following message:

Mon corps

c'est mon corps

ce n'est pas le tien

tu as ton corps

alors laisse-moi

le mien

I read it, meditated some, and two insights came. First, I found it odd how infrequently the tiny human being growing within the womb is acknowledged as having its own body. Yes, I have a body as you do. Also, in the pregnant woman, there is a third body, developing and dependent, as we all are to one measure or another. This child has a distinct set of chromosomes from either his father or mother. Sadly this distinct little body is largely forgotten in contemporary discourse.

The second insight concerned how anthropo-centric the note was. My body and your body. Absent was any acknowledgment to the hand of our Divine creator. How sad not to give no thanks to our alpha and omega, our source and our destiny.

Eventually, I returned to my contemplation, but not for long. Again, I was pulled out my reverie though in a more confrontational manner. A young couple stormed upon the knoll where I was seated and began to assail me with diatribes, alternating between one another. She cursed me, he attacked the Faith, she slung a sexist comment at me - the typical ad hominem argument, and he again criticized the Faith.  Needless to say, I did not have time for any apologetics for the whirlwind that brought them quickly took them away.

An open docile disposition is a pre-requisite to learning. My prayer is that our society develops this virtue so that it may move out its moral torpor.

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My Pro-Life Journey - Part I

My pro-life involvement began after I had moved to Ottawa from Montreal, some twelve years ago. However modest it was, I am indebted to Mr. Bernie Langill.

I went to Ottawa to do graduate studies at the Dominican College. In my second year, I moved into the rectory of Our Lady of Perpetual Help church, in the Somerset Heights area of Ottawa. The parish was a small, welcoming, inter-city one consisting of many older families and having a strong Filipino presence, due in large part to its pastor Father Glicerio Jimenez. It was there that I met Bernie.

Despite living in the west end of Ottawa, Bernie, along with his wife Yvette, attended OLPH regularly. He was an active attendee at the weekly Wednesday night novenas to Our Lady. Also, he was present at the weekend liturgies and participated in many of the social functions held in the basement of the church.

Also, Bernie was a very active pro-lifer. At Christmas time, he set up a table in the church lobby in order to sell Trappist fruit cakes, tempting would-be clients with samples topped with his homemade lemon sauce. In the Fall, he recruited people to be part of the life chain held in the numerous areas around the capital. In the Summer months he occupied himself dispensing containers used for the Pennies for Life collection. Finally, in May he was on the Hill as well as at the liturgies and the Rose dinner as part of the National Pro-Life March events. Inevitably, by contact with Bernie, I was awaken out of my pro-life slumber.

On one occasion he invited me to participate in a life chain. With some discomfort, I accepted his offer. Yes, I believed in the cause yet manifesting myself publicly is another matter. Spineless? Yes. I prefer to get along with others rather than ruffle feathers. So, with difficulty, I stepped out of my comfort zone to express a not so popular opinion, one that runs counter to our society; namely, the death of the innocent, unborn is wrong. Yet, doesn't Christ call us to life and to die to self?

So, with some trepidation, on the appointed day I went the Bank street rendez-vous spot, met other pro-lifers, gathered a not too offensive sign, and posted myself along the street some five meters from the next pro-lifer. I felt mortified. I remained there for an hour and half in quiet vigil, embarrassed much of the time, praying silently and enduring occasional slurs from passers-by. So, it was difficult.

Over the years, expressing myself publicly hasn't gotten any easier. Yes, at heart, I am a people-pleaser. Yet, this trait hasn't controlled me and I have endured the scorn of many by participating in other life-chains, not only in Ottawa but also in Mount Kisco, NY, and in the Bronx. Our Lord said that to follow him is not easy and there would be a cross for us to carry. He was not people-pleaser.

Next time: My meeting with Msgr. Trainor, pastor at Shrine Church of St. Ann, Bronx, NY.

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Log Day 6 - 40 Days for Life

Wild 24 Hours

The past twenty fours have been passionate ones at the vigil site.

First, yesterday afternoon Michel Cacchione and I went door-to-door. Community outreach is one the three points of the 40 Days for Life program. Along with praying and fasting, and constant vigil, outreach consists of getting the message into the neighbourhood about the harm of abortion. Previously, we had spoken to pedestrians at the site, but had not ventured further from Lahaie park. That changed yesterday. So, between 2 and 2:45pm, Michel and I visited ten or so households to inform them about 40DFL and to invite them to pray along with us. Several were not aware of the presence of the Morgentaler facility and said they would remember us in their prayers.

At this time, one person we had met asked us to pray for her.  Maria had recently been diagnosed with cancer. This news was particularly disheartening for she had enjoyed very good health all her 60+ years and so was dumbfounded when her doctor had informed her. She grieved her loss of hair because of the chemotherapy. Also, tears came as she shared that surgery would only be possible in a year's time. I invite all readers to kept Maria in your prayers.

As for today, two incidents I will particularly remember. The first occurred while praying the rosary and typifies the universality faith. Four of us were huddled in the sunshine and coolish breeze, reciting the sorrowful mysteries each in a different language – French, English, Spanish, and Polish. The latter was done by Anna, who had come to Montreal from Toronto for a weekend visit to the Oratory. She would have returned yesterday but her car had broken down and so, while waiting for the mechanic to repair her vehicle, she came across us. Oh happy fault!

The other incident is more somber. Shortly as we foursome were disbanding, our group was approached by a young couple. A young lady in her late teens accompanied by a neatly bearded young twenty-something was obviously upset at our presence.  She was the more articulate of the two demanding that we close down our site. My explanation about the importance of our activity and refusing to acquiesce left her to dismantle it herself, beginning with the guide-wires and then the banner. Any attempt from us to dissuade failed. I appealed to the young man to intervene, but to no avail; my words fell on death ears. (Rather he presented economic arguments to justify abortion – “living in poverty is worst - than being dead”, and thought that our presence was unsympathetic to the girls who have had abortions for many would feel remorse on seeing our signs. It did not occur to him that our presence may be curative.)

The incident ended as she tried to walk away with the rolled up banner. I grabbed one end without letting go. She tried to wrestle from me, threatened to punch me, did so. Somehow I ended up with the banner beneath me on the ground. At this point she and the young man left. Never in my five years of sidewalk counseling in the Bronx,NY, did I experience anything of the kind. I think that I will read more often Paul's epistle to Ephesians, particularly Ep 6:13-20.

Shook up, I invited two of my peers to pray. And so I do likewise with you all; please keep this young lady and her friend close to your hearts.

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